Clark needs to resign. Now.

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Thursday night’s debacle with Garn was promoted and perhaps even orchestrated by Utah’s Speaker of the House, Dave Clark. According to news reports, he was notified of the accusations on Monday morning. He didn’t bother talking to Garn until Tuesday, when the story was confirmed by Garn. Lapse in judgment #1. Then, instead of asking for and accepting his resignation on the spot, he gave Garn cover through the end of the session. Lapse in judgement #2.

On Thursday night, he canceled the end-of-the session festivities and gave Garn the floor. Lapse #3. Some House members found out that the Garn was going to be making an announcement and “it was bad”. Some did not even have that courtesy extended to them. Almost none were told what the announcement would be. Lapse #4.  When former Representative Brent Parker was arrested in 2003 for soliciting sex from an undercover male police officer, then Speaker of the House Marty Stevens closed the caucuses and lawmakers were told what happened – BEFORE a bombshell was dropped in their laps. It is unconscionable that Speaker Clark could not  figure out he should probably let the House members know what was coming. In addition, there are House members who are saying privately that Kevin Garn was prepared to resign Thursday night, but was talked out of it by the Speaker himself, who told Representative Garn that he was confident he could “weather the storm”. Serious lapse in judgement #5.

After the speech that never should have taken place on the House floor, Dave Clark spoke:

“We know a man of integrity, leadership, who is willing to give a helping hand to every member of this body,” he said. Addressing Garn directly, he continued: “You are an asset to the state of Utah. I ask that all of us share in honoring a man that we know has served honorably and capably in this body, and we’re proud to do so.” Even worse, he added “I hope you will remain with us.”  Clark then led the House in a standing ovation. Lapses #6 and #7. He should NEVER have praised him and NEVER EVER should have initiated a standing ovation.

Continuing to make matters worse, Speaker Clark sent out a message over the weekend accepting Garn’s resignation. You will notice there is not one word or expression of regret to Garn’s young victim (now grown).  He starts with “I am grateful to Representative Garn and his family for the time he spent in service to the State of Utah”. That and other statements like “Mistakes made many years ago should not detract from the good work the Representative has done during his time in the Utah House of Representatives” minimize the seriousness of the crime. To quote the Salt Lake Tribune from this weekend, this is much more than “just a mistake”. There are some things in life that will – and should – overshadow the “good” someone does in other arenas. Lapse #8.

Clark continues “While not condoning his inappropriate actions, we wanted to show support to a colleague” (his first admission that maybe this wasn’t the best course of action). “A standing ovation is a standard custom of the House, and was a natural conclusion to Representative Garn’s difficult and emotional statement.” I do not agree that it was a “natural conclusion” to Garn’s statement. In fact, I believe it was outrageous and to have it orchestrated by the speaker of the House makes it even more so.  The “natural conclusion” would have been silence, then a filing out of Representatives without stopping to talk to Garn. Trying to cover his backside here is lapse #9.

Clark finishes his statement by saying “I sincerely appreciate those who evaluate this situation with a sense of justice and compassion for everyone involved.”

I believe justice for the state of Utah and the reputation of the Utah House of Representatives, now in tatters, demands that Speaker Clark resign immediately from his leadership role.  Compassion may allow for him to remain as a member of the House.

I wholeheartedly agree with the Daily Herald’s well-written editorial “Hold the Applause: A Shameful Moment in the Utah House” that concludes like this:

Now the Legislature needs to recover. The House should review carefully how it responded to Garn on Thursday night and how the matter was handled by its leadership. Speaker Clark should explain forthrightly what he knew and when he knew it. If he orchestrated Garn’s theatrical moment, he should step down.

Character does matter. And so does keeping a respectable distance from a member whose personal behavior has dragged the reputation of the entire House — and the state — through the muck.

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32 Responses to “Clark needs to resign. Now.”

  1. Lynn Taylor Says:

    Ayup. Well put.

  2. bekkieann Says:

    That’s a gutsy and honest post, Holly. I hope you are heard.

  3. Michelle Says:

    It seems to be a little quite on the boards. I think I have to agree. As painful as it may be what happened was a crime, it’s pretty obvious that most of the house thinks that 25 years doesn’t make it one anymore. I guess it is time for us to clean the house!

  4. JBT Says:

    You should change the name of your blog to: “Holier than thou on the hill”.

    When did God step down and put you in charge of judging others? Good grief, lighten up. Haven’t you read the bible, “Judge not . . . . ”

    Speaker Clark used his own judgment in a difficult situation. You certainly have the right to disagree with that judgment, but that does not give you license to call for his resignation because you would have done things differently.

  5. RADAM Says:

    Good for you Holly. Clark will gerrymander the fourth district for himself he’s so disgusting. It is my opinion that he was involved in the Mark Walker bribery scandal. I also believe that he and many others are involved with a detour of justice by not granting the county attorneys assigned to investigate the case the power (Deputize?) to prosecute and bring forth the truth. But that would lead to who really wanted Walker in that office, and why.

  6. Forgiveness Says:

    From LDS.org

    Forgiveness

    To forgive is a divine attribute. It is to pardon or excuse someone from blame for an offense or misdeed. The scriptures refer to forgiveness in two ways. The Lord commands us to repent of our sins and seek His forgiveness. He also commands us to forgive those who offend or hurt us.

    Seeking Forgiveness from the Lord

    Sin is a heavy burden. It brings the tenseness of guilt and the anguish of knowing that we have acted against the will of our Father in Heaven. It brings lingering remorse as we realize that because of our actions, we may have hurt others and prevented ourselves from receiving blessings our Father has been ready to give us.

    Because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can receive forgiveness for our sins through sincere and complete repentance. Sinfulness brings suffering and pain, but the Lord’s forgiveness brings relief, comfort, and joy. The Lord has promised:

    “Behold, he who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more” (D&C 58:42).

    “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).

    We can experience this miracle, whether we need to repent of serious sins or day-to-day weaknesses. Just as the Savior pleaded with people anciently, He pleads with us today:

    “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

    “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

    “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).

    “Will ye not now return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you?

    “Yea, verily I say unto you, if ye will come unto me ye shall have eternal life. Behold, mine arm of mercy is extended towards you, and whosoever will come, him will I receive; and blessed are those who come unto me” (3 Nephi 9:13–14).

    Forgiving Others

    In addition to seeking forgiveness for our own sins, we must be willing to forgive others. The Lord said: “Ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord; for there remaineth in him the greater sin. I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men” (D&C 64:9–10).

    In the everyday circumstances of life, we will surely be wronged by other people—sometimes innocently and sometimes intentionally. It is easy to become bitter or angry or vengeful in such situations, but this is not the Lord’s way. The Savior counseled, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). He set the perfect example of forgiveness when He was on the cross. Referring to the Roman soldiers who had crucified Him, He prayed, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34; see footnote c ).

    We should pray for strength to forgive those who have wronged us, and we should abandon feelings of anger, bitterness, or revenge. We should also look for the good in others rather than focusing on their faults and magnifying their weaknesses. God will be the judge of others’ harmful actions.

  7. Jon Says:

    Forgive? Yes. Ignore inappropriate things our elected officials are doing, NO WAY!

    I’m undecided on this situation as of yet, but the “We must forgive” argument in this is Bull. Yes, we should forgive all, but we also do not have to trust them in the same situation anymore in the future.

    Forgiveness does NOT equal ignoring what has happened and go on as before. It means not holding a grudge against them, but learning from what has happened as you move on. Your thoughts and actions WILL CHANGE, as you forgive.

  8. Greg Says:

    Dear Forgiveness,

    What a remarkable piece of sophistry. I really am impressed.

    Your point seems to be that to truly be a follower of Christ you must never judge another. No one ever has a right to require accountability of another. Since we all make mistakes we must never condemn others for the mistakes they make. We must give license to all to commit whatever crimes they will because if we don’t we reject the atonement of Christ.

    Wow. I wonder if that will work the next time I get a speeding ticket. I’ll just quote some scriptures and I shouldn’t have to pay the fine. Maybe that would work as a defense against other misdeeds. I could just stop paying my mortgage and I shouldn’t lose my house because, by golly, the people at the bank have no right to “judge” me, or hold me accountable for my actions.

    As a citizen of the state of Utah, a Republican, and a Republican party state delegate I have a responsibility to hold elected officials, especially Republicans, accountable for their actions. It is morally reprehensible for me to abdicate my responsibility to hold elected officials accountable for their actions. If I don’t speak up and hold them accountable for their actions I become complicit to their misdeeds.

    What Kevin Garn and Speaker Clark have done is wrong. I will never accept the argument that public officials should not be accountable to the citizens of this state because we are too righteous to expect that they respect and obey the law.

  9. A Very Personal Take On The Garn Controversy | Saintless Says:

    […] And just one more thing – Kevin Garn is a sick and disgusting man. Ok, maybe two: I agree with Holly on the Hill that Speaker Clark needs to resign. […]

  10. Forgiveness Says:

    Jon & Greg,
    I didn’t make any point or statement other than quote what the Church I believe states re: Forgiveness.

    It is important to protect the innocent, to help the victim, and to rescue the guilty.

    Has Garn has done everything he can to fix this mistake? I don’t know.
    Has he changed from the person that did what he did 25 years ago. I don’t know. Are others currently at risk from Garn? I don’t know.

    I believe those are the questions that should be asked, but does the public forum being used help or hurt this process?


    From lds.org

    Abuse:

    Those who have been abusive in any relationship are urged to repent of their sin, to plead with the Lord for forgiveness, and to ask for forgiveness from those who have been harmed. Those who have been abusive should also speak with their bishop or branch president so he can help them through the repentance process and, if necessary, help them receive additional counseling or other assistance. Part of the repentance process may also include accepting whatever penalties are imposed by law.

    Victims of abuse should seek help immediately, normally from their bishop or branch president. His first responsibility is to help those who have been abused and to protect those who may be vulnerable to future abuse.

    Victims of abuse should be assured that they are not to blame for the harmful behavior of others. They do not need to feel guilt. If they have been a victim of rape or other sexual abuse, whether they have been abused by an acquaintance, a stranger, or even a family member, victims of sexual abuse are not guilty of sexual sin.

    Victims of abuse can seek help from their priesthood leader to guide them through the process of emotional healing. Through the blessings of the gospel, victims of abuse can stop the cycle of abuse and be freed from the suffering they have experienced.

  11. Greg Says:

    Additional quotes from the LDS church leaders about child abuse:

    Jesus Christ:

    “Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:6).

    http://scriptures.lds.org/en/matt/18#6

    Gordon B. Hinkley

    I am glad that there is a growing public awareness of this insidious evil. The exploitation of children, or the abuse of one’s spouse, for the satisfaction of sadistic desires is sin of the darkest hue.

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=57648949f2f6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

    May I again mention a matter with which I have dealt at length in the past. I speak of the evil and despicable sin of child abuse.
    We cannot tolerate it. We will not tolerate it. Anyone who abuses a child may expect Church discipline as well as possible legal action.
    Child abuse is an affront toward God. Jesus spoke of the beauty and innocence of children. To anyone who has an inclination that could lead to the abuse of children, I say in the strongest language of which I am capable, discipline yourself. Seek help before you do injury to a child and bring ruin upon yourself.

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=613e76e6ffe0c010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

    Thomas S. Monson:

    The Church does not condone such heinous and vile conduct. Rather, we condemn in the harshest of terms such treatment of God’s precious children. Let the child be rescued, nurtured, loved, and healed. Let the offender be brought to justice, to accountability, for his actions and receive professional treatment to curtail such wicked and devilish conduct. When you and I know of such conduct and fail to take action to eradicate it, we become part of the problem. We share part of the guilt. We experience part of the punishment.

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=3c5994bf3938b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

    Maxine Murdock in Ensign article on child abuse:

    Keep the child’s best interest uppermost in mind. This may be particularly difficult because perpetrators tend to be highly manipulative and deny the abuse or blame the victim for having caused it. Unfortunately, victims usually lack the power, understanding, or skills to stand up for themselves. They often readily accept blame, even though it is totally unjustified. The bishop, police authorities, and professional therapists who become involved are necessary to represent and protect the child adequately and to place blame on the perpetrator, where it rightfully belongs. Keeping the interests of the child foremost in mind and seeking the guidance of the Spirit, Church leaders, and professional counselors can help parents make wise decisions.

    http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?hideNav=1&locale=0&sourceId=446e9209df38b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD

  12. Dr. Joe Jarvis Says:

    Thank you for this summary and statement.

  13. Utah House Majority Leader Kevin Garn Gets His Standing Ovation | Main Street Plaza Says:

    […] And I wholeheartedly agree with Holly on the Hill (who serves up a nine-point indictment of the creep behind the creepy Capitol Kabuki that she’s dubbed “ApplauseGate”): Utah’s Speaker of the House, Dave Clark, needs to resign. Now. […]

  14. JBT Says:

    You folks better be careful. You are giving those who don’t believe members of the LDS faith are true Christians a lot of ammunition here.

    On second thought . . . .carry on (if only for the entertainment value).

  15. Matt Says:

    Good history. This is a tough issue all around. Agreed that Marty Stephens handled the Parker situation well.

    Utah is running very, very thin in the leadership department. Actually, this is a problem nationwide. We are far more interested in pandering and posturing then old fashioned leadership.

  16. Frank Staheli Says:

    Holly: Thank you for providing a very valuable service. I have not seen elsewhere such an excellent, in-depth analysis of the problems with the Republican leadership in the legislature. The Kevin Garn affair continues to get more creepy crawly as time goes on.

  17. Lady Logician Says:

    Holly – I agree, based on the lapses in judgment the Speaker should step down.

    JBT – John you amuse me with your incessant attacks but it does not surprise me. Nothing Holly does would ever suit you. If she had remained silent on the issue you would have attacked her for enabling bad behavior in Republicans. Your partisan hackery is astounding.

    Forgiveness – in order to truly be forgiven, one must truly repent. We don’t KNOW if Rep. Garn has truly repented. The true repentance comes between Rep. Garn, his constituents and the accuser. However, we need to hold our politicians accountable – after all isn’t that the GIST of the ethics initiative movement?

    LL

  18. JBT Says:

    LL. You are incredibly arrogant to think that you know what my response would be had Holly not had her head explode over the Garn affair like she has.

    You are right that the crux of the Utahns for Ethical Government Initiative is to hold politicians accountable. Their document provides a well defined independent citizens commission and a fair and open well structured process to hear and adjudicate complaints against legislators upon their merits and facts

    A kangaroo court made up of political wanna be bloggers who are the self appointed prosecutor, judge, and jury is not the same thing by any stretch of the imagination. I think Holier Than Thou on the Hill is just using this incident to call attention to herself and proclaim to the world how righteous she is compared to those she so quickly condemns.

  19. Frank Staheli Says:

    JBT: Change your initials to PCKB (Pot Calling Kettle Black). You do a FINE job, based on comments of yours I’ve seen here and on my blog, of showing, without much logic, who thinks they are Holier Than Thou. It would be nice if JUST ONCE, JUST OOOOONCE, you could contribute something to a conversation besides vitriol and invective.

  20. Chino Blanco Says:

    In terms of entertainment value, JBT, that last comment of yours was priceless.

    In terms of self-awareness, before posting that gem, did you bother to consider that “kangaroo” might be a less-than-apt description of a forum that leaves the floor open for contrary comments like yours? Or were you too busy plumbing the depths of your imagination for cute insults?

  21. Greg Says:

    Clark did not commit a crime, he made an error(s) in judgement it seems, but it was 25 years ago? Now after taking $150K, this person wants to cause trouble after being silent for money for so long?

    If Hatch should resign or the voters expell him that is one matter, but to attack Clark and demand he resign is nuts, sounds like some of the Northerners want the speaker to be from Northern Utah, so they can continue to treat St. George as though we are part of Arizona.

    Thats fine, redraw the State Line and put Washington County in Arizona.

  22. JBT Says:

    Please Simple Mormon who goes by the name of Frank—don’t confuse “more intelligent than you” with “holier than thou”. The conservative buffoonery that you try to pass off on your forum as intelligent discussion boggles the mind. The reason I don’t engage in debate on your forum with your idiotic ideas is this good advice I learned from Mark Twain.

    “Never get into an argument with a fool. Passers by may not be able to tell the difference.”

    I don’t know whether or not you are keeping score, but every time I get a response out of you narrow minded, sanctimonious, conservative, LDS folks who think you are the only ones here, I win.

  23. Greg Says:

    JBT- Your a legend

    A legend in your own mind, as Clint Eastwood would say.

  24. JBT Says:

    I think you mean “YOU’RE” Gregory. What grade did you complete? Or were you home schooled?

  25. Forgiveness Says:

    repeat:

    It is important to protect the innocent, to help the victim, and to rescue the guilty.

    Has Garn has done everything he can to fix this mistake? I don’t know.
    Has he changed from the person that did what he did 25 years ago. I don’t know. Are others currently at risk from Garn? I don’t know.

    I believe those are the questions that should be asked, but does the public forum being used help or hurt this process?

  26. policygirl Says:

    JBT–I’m a conservative, Republican, Mormon and a transplant from DC. It sounds as though you and I don’t have a lot in common. That aside, I must confess you and Greg are the most rational respondents to this post.

    As for Holly’s Lapse #3—she acts as though other legislators didn’t have a clue as to what was going on with Garn. However, the Trib reported that a week before the end of the session “Maher began sending e-mails to state legislators and reporters laying out her allegations.” Really? All those legislators (and interns with access to legislators’ email accounts) and Holly sincerely believes that none of these people talked? I don’t buy it for a minute!

    If anything, legislators, including David Clark, had a momentary lapse in judgment. Garn’s initial “confession” was that several years earlier he “foolishly went hot tubbing with a woman nearly half [his] age.” There’s a lot of ambiguity in that sentence. For instance, how is he defining “a woman” and what constitutes “nearly” half his age? Of course, in the light of day we learn that this “woman” was actually a troubled, 15-year-old girl. The whole thing was all so bizarre and it (his confession) was over so quickly, I daresay legislators (on both sides of the aisle) were just trying to gather their thoughts and be as supportive as they could be.

    Finally, who the hell is Holly? And why is she even the hill? Does she work for the State of Utah? Is she a lobbyist? Or is she a wannabe who fancies herself a political insider? I work on the hill and I’ve never seen her. Most importantly, why would she allow herself to be photographed from a low angle like that? (I thought all women knew that was a no-no!) Holly, my sister, if you’re reading this, I will personally volunteer to re-take that shot for you.

  27. Chino Blanco Says:

    Who the hell is policygirl? Whoever you are, you’re awfully rude.

  28. Gregory Says:

    policygirl,

    I can’t really speak for Holly. But I’ll give it a shot anyway. Holly does not work for anyone. She is an independent blogger. She volunteers time to watch what is happening in the Utah legislature. She gives her perspective on what is happening on the hill.

    Representative Craig Frank helped Holly start her blog, taking the picture and suggesting the title.

    I personally appreciate her perspective and the effort the puts into her blog. I am not offended by ordinary citizens becoming involved in the political process.

    PS I have been posting as “Greg” but another poster has begun using that name. Just trying too avoid confusion.

  29. hollyonthehill Says:

    Policygirl, are you sure you’re not JBT with a new email addy? I AM a political insider and activist. At least that’s what the Daily Herald, the SLTrib and City Weekly call me. If you work on the hill, as you claim, then you have seen me. The only days I missed were the days I was at CPAC. I have been there every day of the session for years.
    Gregory is right – I am my own boss. I call things as I see them. If I have no influence, I have no influence. I still have the right to speak my mind and I have. You are free to speak yours. If you want, go start your own blog and say as much as you want as a political insider, policy consultant, public policy/strategic plan development manager for ??? Couldn’t be the Speaker of the House, now could it?

  30. Thoughts on Kevin Garn @ Opinionated @ CFE Says:

    […] David Clark: Look, I can understand wanting to sit on this kind of thing. I get that. You party guys are supposed to protect your own and all, and just like a good team player you wanted to close ranks. But c’mon, enabling the circus on the floor without giving anyone else warning that it was coming? It reads like a bad joke. You’re leadership. You’re supposed to lead. What you did is not leadership. I think Holly is right about you. […]

  31. bffs Says:

    I never thought I would see Holly agreeing with the loon Neil Hansen.

    http://www.sltrib.com/ci_14702448?IADID=Search-www.sltrib.com-www.sltrib.com

    If there was one person at the legislature I would never want to find myself in agreement with it would be Hansen. Clark made a tough decision about a difficult situation. I think you need to go with your new BFF and pick up some chill pills.

  32. Chancy Gardner Says:

    As Hansen has said a lot and I quote, “People, what part of public trust don’t you understand.” He is right and the rest of you are wrong. Hansen knows what it takes to be a public servant and some really could learn from that.

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